Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp said in a Monday filing to Jasdaq that it had a “basic agreement” with China’s Guangcai Group to set up a 50-50 venture via a Hong Kong entity.
The scope of the business would be for “sales and maintenance… for casino-related devices and systems developed and manufactured” by Universal Entertainment.
The joint corporation – to be called Hong Kong Guangcai Universal Entertainment Ltd – would have the “exclusive right of sales under said sales and maintenance business for casino-related devices and systems in all Southeast Asian countries minus the Philippines,” stated the filing.
It added the tie-up would also involve “expansion of the joint venture to other casino-related businesses”.
It did not mention whether there would be any attempt to list the joint venture in Hong Kong. According to Bloomberg data, Guangcai Group is currently a privately-held company.
Monday’s document from Universal Entertainment did not make reference to Japan’s ongoing process to create a regulated casino industry. But a number of publicly declared suitors for a Japanese casino licence, including MGM Resorts International, have mentioned the possibility of a tie-up with a Japanese company.
The Monday filing described Guangcai Group – of which the core business is China Guangcai International Investment Group Co Ltd – as “one of China’s leading nationally-owned finance conglomerates”.
Universal Entertainment said that since Guangcai Group’s foundation, it had “developed as a state-owned finance enterprise group with support from the Chinese central government, and has been engaged in national-level projects globally in fields such as finance, resource development, mineral development, [and] trade.”
The Chinese group’s 50-percent investment in the joint venture will be made via China Guangcai International Investment Group Co Ltd, represented by businessman Ren Jie.
The Japanese partner said of its new Chinese ally: “We believe that the cooperative relationship with the internationally-proven group will contribute to expanding our casino-related business.”
Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, a unit of Universal Entertainment, is the promoter of the Okada Manila casino resort in Manila, in the Philippines. The resort is named after Universal Entertainment’s founder and former chairman, Kazuo Okada. The latter is currently in a legal tussle with Universal Entertainment on a range of issues.
In late September, Universal Entertainment said it had sued a firm linked to Mr Okada for JPY100 million (US$886,938). The reason was the alleged failure of one of Mr Okada’s privately held companies – Aruze Gaming America Inc, a maker of casino slot machines and electronic table games – to pay patent licensing fees said to be owed to Universal Entertainment.
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"We believe the better-than-expected November gross gaming revenue number [in Macau] positions MGM [China Holdings Ltd] especially well for a strong opening in Cotai”
Japanese brokerage Nomura